As I mentioned, I had a free ticket to the Yankees game Tuesday night, which gave me the opportunity to walk around the new stadium, shop, eat and mingle with friends (if I had any with me). Oh. And perhaps watch some baseball. (For the record, I didn't shop or eat. But I did have a few beers. And checked out the Yankees-A's.)
First thing, of course: The place is a palace. You've read about all the amenities. In fact, you've probably already read too much about the new Yankee Stadium. That's the thing: Between the hype and the backlash (cost overruns, city's shady role in the construction, etc.), it's nearly impossible to actually just come here and watch the game.
Anyway, it doesn't seem as if any expense was spared, except for maybe chintzy seat cup holders. So, despite ample amounts of Yankee history everywhere ....
... (not to mention the location), the new stadium feels like suburbia. Where the parents can let the kids run around sitter-free while they bask in the glow of the food court. For me, it seemed like a vacation: Some resort that was kind of fun, but I miss home. And it doesn't help that the stadium feels a little cold and manufactured, though I'm sure things will improve with age.
So here's a quick tour, which begins with Derek Jeter channeling Paul Bunyon next to the Hard Rock Cafe...
Now to the other first thing: The food choices. Sushi and ramen, which made me feel as if I was right back on St. Mark's!
...and, oddly, pears. Danjou and Bartlett. Two for $3.
...white tablecloth restaurants...
...lots of meat...
...and well-displayed sandwiches.
There are also many lounges to have food and watch the game on a flat-screen TV. Though not any ol' schlub can walk in: You need the tickets that also give you the right for access to, say, the Jim Beam Lounge. I did not have the right tickets, but the guy working the door was friendly and said that I was welcome inside. Really, they guy working the door was friendly.
Also, the Jumbotron big screen thing in center field is as high-def as they come.
As the season progresses, I'm sure there will be more interesting things to say about the player who's up to bat.
Meanwhile, only at the $1.5 billion stadium does a penny cost $1.01.
Eventually the novelty of the stadium will wear off, and people will turn their attention to the game again.
I've talked with several Yankees fans who said they'd never set foot in the new stadium. I'm sure people said that about the renovations that neutered Yankee Stadium in the mid-1970s. I understand that point of view. I think I'd go again. See how it feels in a few months. Maybe even without a free ticket.
If you want to know more about how people felt when the stadium reopened in 1976, check out the April 26, 1976, issue of Sports Illustrated and the article by Robert Lipsyte titled "A Diamond in the Ashes."